An Alphabet of Ships

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
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Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:17 am

Re: An Alphabet of Ships

Postby WingedCat » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:00 pm

The Torch class of system defense boats is a series of apparent paradoxes, starting with its name.

There are old Solomani tales of a "torchship", which uses something like manuever drive to accelerate to appreciable fractions of the speed of light. Almost any ship with a maneuver drive is theoretically capable of this (though most require the presence of a big enough star to provide a wide enough area to accelerate over). While the Torch class is capable of much greater acceleration than most ships, it derives its name from a simpler metaphor: a ship of fire and light. Likewise, a Torch is too big to be classed as a "fighter" even if that is how it is designed to be used (with multiple canard wings to give superiority in atmospheric combat, whether invading or defending an atmosphere), and too small to be properly termed a "battle rider" even if it often fills that role, but it at least fulfills the definition of a "system defense boat": an armed spaceship of at least 100 tons without a jump drive. Just one Torch can defend a highport or a small world against casual pirates, though it has no staterooms and thus can only stay deployed for 24 hours at a time; best practice is no more than 6.

Nomenclature aside, a Torch is a spaceship large enough to carry a bay weapon, that dogfights. This doctrine does not always work, but when it does it can be devastatingly effective, packs of Torches hounding entire fleets until their quarry is destroyed without suffering a single shot landed in return. (Mechanically: a Torch uses its superior speed to close to Adjacent range quickly, sparing a bit of thrust for evasive actions. Once in the dogfight, the Torch's small size and high Thrust helps it win each opposed Pilot check, giving sufficient DMs to make hitting it impossible, while firing back at difficult but not impossible odds.) Speed is a Torch's primary defense, though it also carries significant armor by spaceship standards to help it survive the attack run, and to shrug off most attacks from smaller opposing vehicles, spaceships or otherwise. The short range of its primary weapon makes it ill suited to a typical "stand back and attack" doctrine.

Among the known countermeasures are uninvolved ships picking off the Torches (best handled by having enough Torches to dogfight and harass every ship in the enemy fleet, preventing all but the most disciplined crews from tending to each others' troubles), deploying true fighters (smallcraft which can out-dogfight a Torch) with heavy enough weapons to pierce the armor, firing missiles to take out the jump-capable carrier the Torches rode in on (which usually hangs well back from the fight), and firing large enough missile salvos at a Torch to overcome its point defense (attacking every Torch in a squadron at once, lest they help each other against one-at-a-time salvos). Torches carry a laser turret as a secondary weapon to deal with fighters and missiles. (A Torch's laser turret gunner may, when appropriate, use the Point Defense reaction against any missiles launched by, or about to hit, a target in Adjacent or Close range. Attacking missiles otherwise requires chasing them down or being in position to intercept.) Although the main fusion gun is mostly aimed by pointing the ship, fine aiming is achieved via magnetic deflectors packed around the triple beam generators; adjusting these deflectors is the main activity of the gunner crewing the fusion gun.

This class of ships was designed by vargr architects working for the Imperium in Deneb sector. They claim this is an evolution of designs found in the Vargr Extents. The teeth-like canards and the bridge arrangement (gunners on the outside so they can directly adjust the main gun's potentials, then engineers, and the pilot in the center - the designated captain due to having the most prominent chair and, should that crewmember fail to protect the ship, the seat furthest from the airlocks) lend credence to this claim. Similar designs have been spotted in shipyards of higher tech vargr, aslan, zhodani, and even droyne worlds, though it is surprisingly rare in the Solomani Sphere. Hivers view this design as too direct for their tastes, and k'kree prefer automated drones for ships of this sort.

Torch-class system defense boat, TL 15
Maintenance: 14,584 credits/month
Crew: pilot, 2 engineers, 2 gunners
MCr: 175.01
Excess power: 0
Reinforced streamlined hull (44 Hull)________________________-200__17_____40
Armor 13 (bonded superdense)_________________________________17.6__14.96__0
Thrust-7 maneuver drive (3*reduced power)____________________14____42_____35
Thrust-13 reaction drive (3*reduced fuel)____________________52____15.6___0
Fusion power plant___________________________________________8. 2___16.4___-164
Fuel (4 weeks' operation & 30 minutes' reaction drive fuel)__14____0______0
Fuel scoops (free w/streamlining)____________________________0_____0______0
Improved sensors_____________________________________________3_____4.3____4
Medium fusion gun bay (3*size reduced)_______________________70____24_____80
Triple beam laser turret (accurate, high yield)______________1_____1.75___5
Ship's locker (cargo)________________________________________0.2 ___0______0
Software: maneuver/0_________________________________________0_____0______0
Software: library____________________________________________0_____0______0
Software: fire control/2_____________________________________0_____4______0
Software: evade/3____________________________________________0_____3______0

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Re: An Alphabet of Ships

Postby WingedCat » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:01 pm

The limited range of small craft (firmpoint-mounted) weapons has long been an issue in the practical deployment of fighters. The Underfighter is one solution. Essentially a heavy fighter with a pressure hull, it lurks in squadrons in the depths of a gas giant or ocean, undetectable to most sensors and relying on passives to alert when ships jump in and approach for refueling. A large or protected fleet can be ignored, while a small fleet or lone ships get abruptly swarmed. When this works exceptionally well, the Underfighters' prey wind up disabled before their crews can get from commons or quarters to the guns. Despite being only TL 10, Underfighters can manage a total Thrust-9 by combining their maneuver and reaction drives. If attacking a large target, Underfighters will sometimes take advantage of their surprise to fire one missile programmed to wait several minutes, fire another missile with a bit less wait, and so on to form a salvo that the Underfighter then accompanies to attack (in game mechanics: rising from cover and closing to Adjacent range in the same round that the missiles attack), though the Underfighter's fire control can only coordinate up to 4 missiles at once this way. Typically, the pilot reloads the rack as the fourth missile is fired, then pulls up to attack as the gunner warms up the pulse laser.

Merely calling them "a nasty surprise for the unprepared" does not do justice to the concept. There is a tale from the latter days of the Ramshackle Empire, of a vargr system defense commander (having been born and raised in the Empire, with no loyalty to his distant kin) conspicuously planting Underfighter designs in starports along the path of incoming vargr raiders, causing the raiders to take refueling slow and cautiously, giving the defense commander time to rally enough forces to ward them off.

Most of an Underfighter's time on duty is spent waiting around. The lack of crew commons can make it feel a bit cramped despite the single occupancy staterooms. It is not uncommon for Underfighter squadrons to be docked into one large structure on autopilot, extended arrays deployed to provide periscopes above the water or bulk of the gas giant (receiving tightbeamed data from spy drones elsewhere around the protected area), with one person taking a watch for the entire squadron. Underfighters come with double-entrance airlocks to facilitate this, and provide structural separation between the bridge and the rest of the crew space.

Underfighters lack jump drives, and must be ferried to destinations not in the same system as they start; 3 month shifts are common on such deployments, between which a jump-capable craft (more often far traders than dedicated tenders) will visit to rotate crews and perform maintenance. Unlike with most small craft, maintenance is done from the inside thanks to the pressure hull; there are iris valves in the staterooms giving access to the engine compartments. While Underfigters only carry fuel for 4 weeks and half an hour of reaction drive use, when on station in gas giants or water they are surrounded by unrefined fuel, and possess all the equipment necessary to refine it and replenish themselves while waiting for the next engagement (the Underfighter has enough power to run everything except either the laser or the fuel processor at once). On colonized worlds with oceans that never actually came under attack, there have been Underfighters that were continually manned and not fully left contact with the water for centuries, with later generations of pilots treating it as a ceremonial duty, eventually just a rite of passage (with shift lengths adjusted for how many new pilots, and how many still-operational Underfighters, there were that year).

Underfighters occupy a distinctly TL 10 niche, though versions one TL to either side exist. At TL 9, more reliance on reaction drives is necessary, with fuel loads that crowd out effectiveness. TL 11 refines the systems and offers more luxury for extended deployment; adding a biosphere and enhanced signal processing is common. At TL 8 enough of the necessary components are unavailable that the concept becomes nonviable, while at TL 12 deep meson guns are deployed instead.

Underfighter-class submersible fighter, TL 10
Maintenance: 5,862 credits/month
Crew: pilot, gunner
MCr: 70.34
Excess power: 0.1
Streamlined hull (20 Hull)____________________________-50___3______10
Pressure hull (extra cost)____________________________12.5__27_____0
Armor 10 (4/pressure hull + 6/crystaliron)____________3.75__9______0
Thrust-3 maneuver drive_______________________________1.5___3______1 5
Thrust-6 reaction drive (2*reduced fuel)______________6_____1.5____0
Fusion power plant____________________________________3.4___1.7 ____-34
Fuel (4 weeks' operation + 1/2 hour reaction fuel)____3.25__0______0
Fuel scoops (free w/streamlining)_____________________0_____0______0
Fuel processor (convert 2 tons of fuel per day)_______0.1___0.005__0.1
Bridge w/holographic controls_________________________3_____0.625__0
Military grade sensors w/extended arrays______________6_____12.3___6
Fixed mount firmpoint missile rack____________________0_____0.85___0
Ammo storage (12 extra missiles)______________________1_____0______0
Fixed mount firmpoint pulse laser (energy efficient)__0_____1.2____3
2 staterooms__________________________________________8_____1______0
Software: maneuver/0__________________________________0_____0______0
Software: library_____________________________________0_____0______0
Software: fire control/2______________________________0_____4______0

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Re: An Alphabet of Ships

Postby WingedCat » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:02 pm

Empty parsecs, with extremely sparse resources compared to even uninhabitable star systems, are often ignored, or at most treated as barriers to be jumped over. But sometimes a minor polity will find itself unable to overcome said barriers, or be interested in setting up supply caches away from the star systems their enemies know the locations of. Rarely are said polities able to do something about it (and major ones are usually too large to have such worries), but Charted Space is full of exceptions to most any law of sophont behavior. The Void Camera is one such exception.

Thus, a Void Camera's mission: to explore vast empty parsecs, to seek out new resources and new ice, to map out spots for deep space fuel caches where no one has gone before.

Whether connecting adjoining jump-1 mains for use by less capable merchants, or enabling the crossing of great rifts, the procedure for each parsec remains much the same. Jump into the center of the parsec, take a "gravitic snapshot" to find any clusters of matter within 1/10 of a parsec of the middle (there are always some), jump to the most promising, spend 1-5 weeks prospecting (possibly including a week to jump to a second cluster if the first does not pan out), and jump back with the results for someone else to build a depot with. Working with a construction ship in this way, a bridge across a rift can be laid down, growing by one parsec every 1-2 months (after an initial 1-2 months to start the process). A Void Camera has enough engine and fuel to Jump 3 twice, but will usually only explore up to 2 parsecs out, using the remaining 2 parsecs' worth of fuel for in-parsec jumps.

At least 5 total levels of Science are needed among the 4 scientists to crew the gravitational analysis suite. Given the likely fields of science involved, crew planners assume that at least one of the scientists will be able to astrogate a well. Traditionally, the astrogator-scientist is also the captain, though sometimes the pilot or engineer takes this role (especially if they are the astrogator instead).

The Void Camera's shell is distinctly egg-shaped, the most noticeable irregularity being the crew airlock's exterior. While there is a second airlock on the dorsal side, this is normally reserved for the recoverable probe drones, which are designed to allow the crew to conduct multiple simultaneous surveys while prospecting.

While the secondary computer on a Void Camera is officially a backup, both will often be in use at once while prospecting, the primary running Mentor, Research Assistant, and Planetology, while the backup runs Intellect and Expert.

A Void Camera will more than suffice for belt prospecting in a star system, or can be pressed into service surveying worlds (with the gravitational analysis suite replaced by more standard laboratories and additional probe drones), and ironically can more often be found doing one of those. While it is somewhat expensive for such roles, any minor polity will typically run out of nearby empty parsecs to survey well before the ship's mortgage is paid off, let alone before the ship's useful lifetime ends, even if it only builds a single Void Camera. This further explains the design's rarity.

Another limiter: this design tends to show up only in small, Solomani-descended or minor race polities (and only those that achieve a high TL). Vlani ship builders tend to object in principle to the very idea of going off into empty parsecs on purpose, hoping to discover resources, while the other major races find J-3, J-4, or even J-5 bridges more practical (and more controllable).

Void Camera-class scout, TL 15
Maintenance: 15,788 credits/month
crew: pilot, engineer, scientist x 4 (one doubles as astrogator)
MCr: 189.45
Excess power (not counting J-drive): 3
System________________________________________tons __MCr___power
Streamlined light hull (72 hull points)_______-200__9.5___40
Radiation shielding___________________________0_____5_____0
Jump-3 drive (3*fuel efficient)_______________20____45____60
Thrust-9 maneuver drive (2*energy efficient)__18____45____90
Fusion reactor________________________________8_____16____-160
Fuel (jump-3*2 + 8 weeks' operation)__________104___0_____0
Fuel processors (20 tons/day)_________________1_____0.05__1
Fuel scoop (from streamlining)________________0_____0_____0
3 staterooms__________________________________12____1.5___0
Common area___________________________________3_____0.3___0
Advanced sensors w/extended arrays____________15____15.9__18
Enhanced sensor processing____________________2_____8_____2
Mineral detection suite_______________________0_____5_____0
Gravitational analysis suite__________________5_____12____6
Advanced probe drones x 5_____________________1_____0.8___0
Software: library_____________________________0_____0_____0
Software: maneuver/0__________________________0_____0_____0
Software: jump control/3______________________0_____0.3___0
Software: intellect___________________________0_____1_____0
Software: expert (electronics(sensors))/3_____0_____0.1___0
Software: mentor/3____________________________0_____4_____0
Software: research assist/3___________________0_____5_____0
Software: planetology/3_______________________0_____7_____0

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Re: An Alphabet of Ships

Postby WingedCat » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:03 pm

The purpose of a Worldbooker is to thoroughly survey planets in a few weeks. It accomplishes this largely from orbit (usually landing only to refuel, if it has not done so at a gas giant), identifying interesting or representative areas of a planet and dropping survey drones from a few hundred kilometers up to more thoroughly examine the local geology and biology. These drones are largely autonomous, not directly piloted by the team of scientists in orbit but merely told what to do (though manual control is an option), while the scientists compile and analyze data from the drones and the ship's sensors. Most of the ship's sensors are aimed down to assist with data collection, and part of the maneuver drive lies at the base of the nose to assist with drone dropoff and recovery maneuvers. The ship even carries a modified shallow penetration suite, optimized for penetrating planetary crusts to read electromagnetic and infrared sensors suggesting hidden volcanic or other unusual activity.

Design of Worldbookers' drones started with the fact that many interesting worlds have oceans of some depth, and a few others have atmospheres dense enough to cause worries about pressure at their bottoms. The obvious solution is a grav vehicle that can dive, but the pressures involved made it more practical to equip a Worldbooker with submersibles that can fly. The result is large, comparable to a mid-sized fighter. Almost half the space consists of combined supercavitation and grav drives, in outrigger pods that envelope the craft in low-density gas (which the grav drive provides thrust through) in any high-pressure situation, yet still able to carry the drone to and from orbit (the round trip typically consumes a third of its range). The central hull contains a vast array of sensors and samplers to measure any environment; a manipulator arm extending from the ventral surface to lift, pry, and dig; and a bit of cargo space to take mineral or biological samples (entire small organisms or important pieces of large ones) back to the ship. These drones dock securely to the lower deck of a Worldbooker, with barely enough room to attach refueling hoses and unload samples. They have enough fuel for several hours' operation if quickly following some current or river along its length, or much longer if staying mostly in one place such as when drilling to sample minerals up to a kilometer underground (or under the sea floor). Maintenance is done with the drone outside but near the Worldbooker, either between or after survey runs, often by other drones, with spare parts passed from the cargo hold through the rear airlock.

Like most spacecraft, a Worldbooker is minimalist with regard to its interior. Housing for the scientists is dormitory-style, directly underneath the scientific operations suite, while the ship's relatively small crew is housed separately. Access to the cramped bridge is only possible through the crew's quarters or through the forward airlocks, placed to discourage the scientists from bothering the crew during operations. This also gives the bridge crew uninterrupted access to the power plant during jumps, since a Worldbooker has just enough power to jump after shutting down everything but essential systems (primarily life support and artificial gravity). The scientific operations suite is divided into 16 library-like workstations, 2 4-person conference rooms, and three holotanks on which the planet being surveyed is constantly displayed (one of them sometimes shows a satellite, or a similar known world for comparison), either showing planet-wide data such as hydrological and atmospheric cycles or simply plotting a map, usually to highlight areas in need of a drone's attention or to confirm the completeness of the survey.

Scientists aboard a Worldbooker tend to work in belter-like schedules: 2 hours breakfast and waking up, 6 hours working, 2 hours lunch and break, another 6 hours working, 2 hours dinner and winding down, 8 hours sleep. At no point are more than 12 of the scientists working at once (or, if all 16 are - typically at the start before there is much data to analyze - the Planetology software is temporarily paused to free up bandwidth). Their main task is not so much to characterize what is on the planet when the ship visits - the drones can do that job - but to model and predict what the planet is like during the rest of its year, given the briefness of the survey (a Worldbooker in full operation tries to survey 6-12 planets per year, including time to jump from system to system and visit a port to resupply). Weather, currents, nutrient flows, any meteor swarms in the path of the planet's orbit, and other such data are analyzed to make a picture of typical seasons, project optimum year-round habitable locations and agricultural sites, and predict variations over time in local flora and fauna.

Worldbooker-class survey ship, TL 14
Maintenance: 29,004 credits/month
crew: pilot, astrogator, engineer, 16 scientists
MCr: 348.046
Excess power (not including J-drive): 6
Streamlined hull (80 hull points)______________________________-400__24______80
Jump-2 drive (3*reduced fuel)__________________________________25____56.25 ___80
Thrust-2 maneuver drive (3*energy efficient)___________________8_____24______20
Fusion reactor_________________________________________________8_____8_______-120
Fuel (jump-2 + 4 weeks' operation)_____________________________69____0_______0
Fuel processors (20 tons/day)__________________________________1_____0.05____1
Fuel scoop (from streamlining)_________________________________0_____0_______0
Scientific operations suite (planetary survey, 16 scientists)__48____38.4____5
Small bridge___________________________________________________10____2_______0
4 docking spaces (survey drones)_______________________________115___28.75___0
4 survey drones________________________________________________0_____97.696__0
19 staterooms__________________________________________________76____9.5_____0
Common area____________________________________________________19____1.9_____0
Improved sensors_______________________________________________3_____4.3_____4
Enhanced signal processing_____________________________________2_____8_______2
Life scanner analysis suite____________________________________1_____4_______1
Shallow penetration suite______________________________________10____5 _______1
Software: library______________________________________________0_____0_______0
Software: maneuver/0___________________________________________0_____0_______0
Software: jump control/2_______________________________________0_____0.2_____0
Software: mentor/3_____________________________________________0_____4_______0
Software: research assist/3____________________________________0_____5_______0
Software: planetology/3________________________________________0_____7_______0

TL 14 survey drone
MCr: 24.424
armor: 4
underwater agility: -1
air agility: -2
shipping: 26
crew: 0
passengers: 0
cargo: 0.5
hull: 156
front/back armor: 4
side/top/bottom armor: 3
underwater range (cruise): 3000 (4500)
air range (cruise): 1500 (2250)
safe depth: 2 km
crush depth: 6 km
underwater speed (cruise): subsonic (very fast)
air speed (cruise): very fast (fast)
heavy submersible hull w/supercavitating drive_____-52_____5.2
supercavitating drive______________________________10______2.6
fuel efficient_____________________________________0_______5.2
auxiliary grav drive_______________________________13______10.4
advanced control system____________________________0_______0.025
atmospheric sampler________________________________3_______0.0 1
geological sampler_________________________________15______0. 1
hydrographic sampler_______________________________5_______0.01
manipulator arm____________________________________2_______0.0 15
advanced communications system (100,000 km range)__0_______0.001
satellite uplink___________________________________1_______0 .001
advanced sensors (2500 km range)___________________0_______0.1
advanced sensors (underwater, 1250 km range)_______0_______0.2
advanced camouflage________________________________0_______0.01
advanced control interface_________________________0.5_____0.05
very advanced robot brain__________________________0_______0.5

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Re: An Alphabet of Ships

Postby WingedCat » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:04 pm

There are certain strains of Virus that prefer only to infect spaceships, that being what they were in when they became sentient, and thus with identities molded around being ships. Some of these strains seek recognition as sentient individuals from other sophonts, the most numerous examples at hand being far smaller biological ones. The Xihuitl class was designed to facilitate this interaction, using TL 16 smallcraft computers able to handle the complexity of software that at previous tech levels required capital ships' computer cores.

Sculpted to resemble a large floating humanoid, with legs replaced by a hemispherical maneuver drive, the typical assessment is that it does its job somewhat but a true android would have been better. Roughly 10 meters tall and wide (with arms by its sides), and 2 meters thick, it is unable to fit into spaces designed for smaller sophonts. Its body plan is just close enough to humanoid to feel off; in particular, at rest the end of the arms tries to form into "hands" with three fingers and two thumbs, but the many manipulators, tools, and cameras these are formed from are clearly visible. But where it can go, it provides a unit that can be faced and spoken with.

If kept to planet-side activities on a water-bearing world with only occasional excursions above the atmosphere (say, to move things to or from orbit or to visit a local moon), and supplied with a high tech population or tools to maintain itself, then between its greater speed, strength, and intelligence relative to most sophonts, a Xihuitl essentially becomes the long-lived superbeing it believes itself to be. As with any vehicle with a maneuver drive, a Xihuitl can soar at hypersonic speeds around a planet, or just hop up to low orbit and back to complete a long (on planetary scale) trip in less than an hour (accelerating then decelerating in similar fashion to space voyages). While it has limited internal cargo space, by locking arms and getting under the center of gravity, it is able to carry loads heavier than itself (maximum load depending on local gravity: (30 G-tons lift)/(tons of cargo + 10 ton Xihuitl) >= gravity in Gs). Concretely measuring intelligence remains trickier even at high technology levels, but most standardized tests place a Xihuitl's AI at much higher than the average for most biological sopohonts. The only "food" a Xihuitl needs is hydrogen, typically siphoned from the same water supply that supports whatever population it associates with, though its maintenance "medical" needs are significantly higher. Most new Xihuitls quickly learn the skills needed to maintain themselves, and devote their internal cargo to supplies necessary for this (and sometimes an android drone, though many report dissatisfaction when biological sophonts treat this drone as the "real" sophont and the Xihuitl as a mere shell).

That said, a Xihuitl is still technically a spaceship, able to fly throughout a solar system with little problem. There are "jump frames" - 100 ton ships, usually a minimum of Jump-3, refitted with a docking space replacing the bridge, staterooms, and crew commons - that Xihuitls can dock with and pilot from star to star, typically filling all crew positions. It is not unheard of, when a Xihuitl wishes to blow off steam, to fly to a local asteroid belt and take out frustrations on a helpless rock (placing new craters on the planet or local moons having been deemed unsightly).

Xihuitl class person ship, TL 16
Maintenance: 6,809 credits/month
Crew: none (AI pilot)
MCr: 81.7025
Excess power: 0.2
System________________________________________tons __MCr_____power
Reinforced close structure hull (6 Hull)______-10___0.7_____2
Armor 20 (molecular bonded)___________________1_____2.1_____0
Thrust-3 maneuver drive (3*energy efficient)__0.3___0.9_____0.75
Fusion power plant____________________________0.35__0.7_____-7
Fuel (4 weeks' operation)_____________________1_____0_______0
Fuel scoops___________________________________0_____1_______0
Fuel processors (1 ton/day)___________________0.05__0.0025__0.05
Improved sensors______________________________3_____4.3_____4
2 grappling arms______________________________4_____2_______0
Software: maneuver/0__________________________0_____0_______0
Software: library_____________________________0_____0_______0
Software: conscious intelligence______________0_____25______0

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Re: An Alphabet of Ships

Postby WingedCat » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:05 pm

Say "blockade runner" at any starport bar frequented by the Imperial Navy, and odds are someone will immediately think of the Yinoti class. (A telepath who served on one claims to have tested this over a few years, and found it true at least 65% of the time.) The main point of a Yinoti is to get its 10-marine g/carrier onto a planet's surface without being seen, hide while the marines do their work, and fly them home after their mission is done. With careful piloting and good intel about any holes in the destination planet's sensor net, this is possible against all but the most heavily guarded worlds (and sometimes even those). Double-jump fuel capacity and a 9G maneuver drive gives an escape option should the infiltration go poorly. As an absolute last resort, if caught on the ground with its crew deployed, a Yionti is shaped like a common far trader and can try to pretend to be one; a detailed scan will give away the lie, but this can sometimes buy enough time to recall the crew and evacuate.

A Yinoti does not have enough power to run all systems at once, but in practice, at most two of the holographic hull, maneuver drive, and jump drive will be in use at a time: either the ship is making a stealthy jump (h-hull & j-drive), the ship is making a fast exit (m-drive & j-drive), or the ship is not jumping at the moment (h-hull & m-drive). The ship is crowded, with not just double occupancy but double roles assumed: usually the pilot is the astrogator, the engineer and at least one of the marines can fill the gunner slot as needed (and will not crew the barbette most of the time, saving its ammunition for single shot indirect fire in support of deployed marines, or full salvos against targets - usually pursuing spaceships - outside the laser's range), and one of the 10 marines is also the officer in charge of the entire operation.

To partially compensate for this, the bottom deck is designed for the marines to hang out when not in their staterooms, beyond just hosting the crew commons. There is not so much a cargo hold as a designated area to store cargo. The armory lacks its typical bulkhead-grade walls: almost all the crew are marines anyway, and if either of the two non-marines is not versed in gun safety at the start of a jump, they tend to be by its end. The g/carrier dock (normally close to the groud when the ship is landed; when the g/carrier needs to get in or out, the articulated landing gears "stand up", pushing the ship up to give enough clearance) is readily accessible, making it easy for marines to do what maintenance can be done from within the vehicle. The ramp at the front of the bottom deck (essentially an oversized airlock) has its side walls hardened so that marines at its iris valves with energy weapons set to low power (and clip-on recoil simulators if they want to emulate projectile weapons) can use it as a shooting range, with tiny, moving holographic targets (emitted from the rear) to make up for the limited maximum distance. Savvy marine officers meeting friendly forces at the destination have tuned these emitters to enhance their appearance as they strode down the ramp - just enough to make a good first impression, subtle enough that the locals did not notice when the officer walked beyond the emitters' range, shutting down the effect.

The Yinoti class is named for legendary or historical stealth couriers. while Yinoti is a figure from vilani history - a shugilii whose legend began with hiding messages in her food - some historians have noted that Yinoti's later exploits would have seen her called a ninja or shinobi had she lived on ancient Terra, and many solomani-built Yinoti class ships bear the names of ninja.

Yinoti-class blockade runner, TL 15
Maintenance: 33,300 credits/month
crew: pilot/astrogator, engineer/gunner, 10 marines (including 1 officer)
MCr: 399.605
Excess power (not including J-drive): 4
System________________________________________tons __MCr____power
Streamlined reinforced hull (88 hull points)__-200__17_____40
Radiation shielding___________________________0_____5______0
Emissions absorption grid_____________________4_____8______0
Superior stealth______________________________0_____200____0
Holographic hull______________________________0_____20_____100
Jump-2 drive (stealth jump, early jump)_______15____33.75__40
Thrust-9 maneuver drive (2*energy efficient)__18____45_____90
Fusion reactor________________________________12.5__25_____-250
Fuel (jump-2*2 + 4 weeks' operation)__________82____0______0
Fuel processors (20 tons/day)_________________1_____0.05___1
Fuel scoop (free w/streamlining)______________0_____0______0
Advanced sensors______________________________5_____5.3____6
6 staterooms__________________________________24____3______0
Common area___________________________________6_____0.6____0
Armory for 10 marines_________________________2_____0.5____0
Triple mount turret___________________________1_____2.875__9
(sandcaster + 2 beam lasers, all accurate high yield)
Missile barbette (3*size reduced)_____________2_____6______0
Docking space for g/carrier___________________17____4.25___0
Software: library_____________________________0_____0______0
Software: maneuver/0__________________________0_____0______0
Software: jump control/2______________________0_____0.2____0
Software: evade/3_____________________________0_____3______0

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Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:17 am

Re: An Alphabet of Ships

Postby WingedCat » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:06 pm

Sometimes bootstrap expeditions using drones to reestablish industry find the colony does not even have boats to take minerals, harvested from local asteroid belts, down to the planet. At other times, it is simply convenient to deliver small packets directly to destinations across (and sometimes in orbit of) a world. For this, there is the Zip drone.

Externally modeled after the venerable Type-S Scout design, if much smaller and internally simpler, a Zip drone is likewise a courier. Like many spaceships, its considerable expense (relative to grav vehicles, since it often operates at an altitude less than double a planet's radius) means it is only employed where there is enough traffic for it to remotely make sense, though in many cases this is less a question of "if" but "how many". When it has stopped to take on cargo or make deliveries (usually sitting on its tail if in a planetary gravity well, more often hovering than actually landed), a grappling arm folds out of the front section to perform all cargo handling duties. If confronted with a ball of ore or bundle of raw materials too large to deliver in one pass, which is typically how Mints send their products, Zips' arms are designed to break said products into 5 ton chunks to deliver individually. During construction, most Zips have their arms unfolded, only folding up to achieve their fully streamlined form upon activation and deployment.

Zip drones also see use independently of the other drone types on this list, being useful anywhere where fast, interplanetary delivery of small cargoes is needed. Certain high population worlds employ them to never go beyond orbit, finding them useful for express deliveries at merely intercontinental distances.

Zip class courier drone, TL 12
Maintenance: 388 credits/month
Crew: none (virtual pilot)
MCr: 4.65
Excess power: 0
Streamlined hull (5 Hull)__________-10___0.6___2
Thrust-7 maneuver drive____________0.7___1.4___7
Fusion power plant_________________0.6___0.6___-9
Fuel (4 weeks' operation)__________1_____0_____0
Fuel scoops (free w/streamlining)__0_____0_____0
Basic sensors______________________0_____0_____0
Grappling arm______________________2_____1_____0
Software: maneuver/0_______________0_____0_____0
Software: virtual crew/0___________0_____1_____0

(See Fuelbag for deckplans.)
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Re: An Alphabet of Ships

Postby steve98052 » Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:40 pm

That's a lot of good work. About the only thing I don't like about it is that the heavy automation goes against my vision of a central Traveller idea, that sophonts remain necessary, even if current trends in automation suggest that your designs are more plausible than fully-crewed ships. But that's my vision. Otherwise, great stuff.

You might even want to assemble it into a pay-what-you-will Drive Thru RPG book.
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Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:17 am

Re: An Alphabet of Ships

Postby WingedCat » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:54 am

steve98052 wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:40 pm
That's a lot of good work. About the only thing I don't like about it is that the heavy automation goes against my vision of a central Traveller idea, that sophonts remain necessary, even if current trends in automation suggest that your designs are more plausible than fully-crewed ships. But that's my vision. Otherwise, great stuff.
Thanks! And yeah, I see automation going this way too, though I note that having good skill in Traveller requires living sophonts (short of TL 16, but at that point one can consider that something akin to uploading might be one of the kinds of things that Conscious Intelligence software represents). Notice that literally nothing the Average Cargo Ship and its all-droid crew does requires good skill; anything that does require good skill, that ship just doesn't do. Likewise, the System Defense Bricks are only truly a threat when you have a wall of them, especially with other drones carrying spare missiles (like a squire holding a knight's spare weapons), and they use a weapon type (missiles) that doesn't care if the gunner is a bad shot.
steve98052 wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:40 pm
You might even want to assemble it into a pay-what-you-will Drive Thru RPG book.
Eh. I might, but that seems like it'd be a hassle, and I'm not sure how many I'd reach that way who don't already come here (or the CotI forum, where these are also published). Besides, I'm still not 100% sure I've got all the stats right. (For instance, I noticed - and fixed - an error with the Mint's raw materials fabrication speed, which in turn bumped the Quarter Hammers' doubling time from two months to three.)
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Re: An Alphabet of Ships

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:53 pm

I agree that a lot of automation is possible and quite economical, yet I do not use it since I play a game about people in space. I could probably live with a highly automated passenger liner where most of the crew are stewards.

If you want some quibbles:
Average Cargo Ship:
Hull: 31455 = 69900 / 2,0 × 90%
Hull cost: MCr 2097 = 69900 × 0,05 × 80% × 75%
Jump drive cost: MCr 5775 = 3500 × 1,5 × 110%
Well over 4 days to refine the fuel? It slows down port stops.

Hull cost: MCr 90 = 1000 × 0,05 × 120% × 150%
Jump Drive: 80 Dt = 1000 × 3 × 2,5% + 5
___________: MCr 180 = 80 × 1,5 × 150%
Bridge cost: MCr 6,25 = 1000 / 100 * 0,5
Computer Core/70/fib = MCr 120 = 80 × 150%
Adv Sensor w Rapid Array MCr 26,5 = 5,3 × 5
Turrets: Power 54 = 6 + 6 × 2 × 4
Staterooms: Cost MCr 12 = 24 × 0,5
Signals Processing, Enhanced: Cost MCr 8

Boarding Gig:
Turret Cost: MCr 0,7875 = ( 0,2 + 0,15 ) × 150% × 150%
Turret Power: 1 = ( 1 + 4 × 75% ) × 25%

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